Acharya                        teacher of techniques and theory of spiritual disciplines

Agnisara                       abdominal beating to create heat

Ahankara/Ahamkara     the personal or lesser ego – self consciousness – individuality

Ahimsa                         quality and practice of non violence- of thought and action                  

Ajna                              chakra between the eyebrows – the “Third Eye” or mind’s eye

Anahat chakra               heart chakra  – the emotional centre

Ananda                         peace – bliss supreme

Anandamaya kosha      the sheath made of peace and happiness (all one’s happy moments)

Annamaya kosha           the sheath of oneself- the physical body made of food

Antar-dhauti                  internal cleansing

Antara kumbhaka          holding inhalation of breath

Antar mouna                 cleansing the mind in Silence

Anuloma viloma             pranayama using alternate breath

Apana                           type of prana flows from navel to the feet directing excretion

Aparigraha                    Yamas restraint from wasting, hoarding and greed of all kinds

Arhat                             near perfect individual – just one step to be free of earth experience 

Aryan                             the ancient race known as ‘people of the light ‘

Asanas                          system of classic physical postures for health and spiritual well-being

Ashram                          a teaching retreat for spiritual training

Ashwini mudra               control and contraction of the anal muscles

Asteya                           the Yamas restraint of Non stealing

Ashtanga Yoga              8 limbed system of Patanjali – the basis of yogic method

Atma /Atman                 spiritual will or spark of the individual ego- the higher self     

Aum  (OM)                     the sacred underlying universal sound and symbol Pranava

Avatar                           Divine incarnation of a perfect being – a spiritual messenger  

Ayurveda                       ancient Aryan Scriptures – the Vedas dealing with medicine

Bahir kumbhaka            holding breath after exhalation

Bandhas                        muscular locks use to free energies upward in the body

Basti                              internal enema by means of muscular controls

Bhakti Yoga                   the way of Devotion and Love

Bhakti                           devotee believing Love is the way to union with God

Bhastrika                      pranayama exercise to stimulate energy – as a bellows for heat

Bhramari                      an exercise in Pranayama – making sound of a bee

Bhutas                          the 5 elements in Nature – seen as fire, earth, air, water and ether

Bindu                            dot or spot -the subtlest element  in the AUM or Pranava                    

Brahma/ Brahman         God Absolute – representing the creative aspect of theTrinity

Brahmarandhra             point of entry of the spirit into the brain- the “Silver Cord”

Brahmachari                  pure student of chastity, purity seeking to reflect goodness of God

Brahmacharya               the Yama restraining selfishness and extreme sensuality

Brahmin                        one of the noble caste of priesthood

Chaitanya                     consciousness

Chakra                          energy centres in the human psyche

Chandra                        the Moon

Chela                            a student or disciple of the Guru

Chikitsa                         healing and self help aspect of the Ayurvedic teachings

Chit                               pure consciousness – knowledge

Chitta vrittis                  functioning of the mind-  ripples, passing thought activity            

Daksha                         intuitive discrimination – the understanding mind

Dama                           self control, restraint, silencing inner distractions

Darshan                       the silent blessing of a sage

Deva                            an angel, invisible nature spirit , benign being of light

Dharana                       concentration or mental focus of mind power

Dharma                        self ordained or accepted duties, social and spiritual purpose

Dhyana                         meditation, contemplation

Dhyana Yoga                the way to Universal consciousness through Meditation

Ekagrata                       focus of the mind in one-pointed concentration

Gayatri                          potent,  sacred Mantra or Hymn to God with the Sun as symbol

Geranda Samhita         classical work on Hatha Yoga

Gunas                           metaphysical properties of all Creation -Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas

Guru                             the Master, spiritual Guide, who brings light of truth  to the soul   

Hasta                           the hand

Hasta Mudras               hand positions to alter consciousness in meditation

Hatha                           symbolizes balanced harmony between energies of the Sun/Moon

Hatha Yoga                  Yoga disciplines toward physical perfection and mental health

Ida                                magnetic or Moon pranic energy inflowing through the left nostril

Indriyas                        the 5 sensory organs of knowledge

Isvara pranidhana        surrendering one’s consciousness and one’s life to God

Jada Kriya                     actions of the body –physical exercises

Jalandhara bandha       chin lock – deliberate muscular contraction in the throat and neck

Japa                              repetitive prayer, or affirmation in conjunction with mala or rosary

Jiva                                the individual self or soul of each living being

Jivatma                          each individual spiritual spark of humanity

Jnana (Gnana)               knowledge of life-evolvement of wisdom through direct experience

Jnana Mudra                 a position assumed by each hand when mediating

Kama                            emotional and physical desires

Kapala                           the skull

Kapalabhati                  pranayama exercise to help clear the brain

Karma                           Law of Cause and Effect in nature and in human life

Karma Yoga                  path of action and Service with trust in the Law of Karma

Karuna                          compassion for those less fortunate

Kosha                           7 sheaths of consciousness, each a sphere in the human psyche

Kriya Yoga                    the path of purity in daily life

Kumbhaka                    retention of the breath

Kundalini                      fiery energy conducted through the central spinal column                    

Kunjar Kriya                 cleansing stomach with water

Laya Yoga                    study of the chakras and raising consciousness through them

Maha                            great

Mahabharata                epic spiritual legend of India

Mahasamadhi               the ‘great sleep’ – death

Maharshi                       Maha Rishi or Great Sage sometimes loosely used

Mahatma                       Master of Life- teachers of human souls, saintly, noble and wise

Maitri                            the state of benign feeling of loving kindness to all

Mala                             sacred string of 108 (12×9) beads – used in similar way as a rosary

Manas                          the thinking principle – one of the triune aspects of man – the Gunas

Mandala                       magic circular symbol used to alter consciousness prior to meditation

Manipura chakra          Solar Plexus chakra – the centre

Manomaya kosha         is the lower Mental Body- concerned with logic and reasoning

Mantra                         sacred word or chant – silently or audibly repeated

Margas                         traditional classic Paths selected en route to spirituality

Maya                            material world of Illusion that hides the spiritual Reality of life

Mouna                         Silence

Mudra                          asanas or postures to seal or bind certain patterns of energy

Mula bandha               anal Lock -muscular lock around the rectum            

Muladhara chakra        chakra or energy centre at the base of the spine

Nada Yoga                   using silence or sound to elevate consciousness

Nadis                           nadis or vital channels of energy in the body number 72,000

Nadis-shodhan            pranayama exercise for purification of the nerves and pranas

Namaste                     “Honour unto thee”-  an Indian greeting of respect to another

Namaskara                  salutation greeting in reverence for another- or in sacred devotions

Nauli                            manipulation of the abdomen involving the rectus abdominus muscles

Neti                             one of the kriyas – cleansing nostrils with water using a neti pot

Nidra                           relaxation or sleep state

Nirvana                       sphere of heavenly consciousness- Bliss- Peace ineffable

Niyamas                      cultivation of positive virtues – self discipline motivated by goodness

OM/AUM                      Universal Mantra- eternal, pervading sound of Nature and Cosmos  

Patanjali                     author of the classical Yoga Sutras- lived approx. 5th C B.C.

Pingala                       electric or positive energy in the spinal column

Prana                          the Universal Reservoir of pure universal Energy

prana                          energy functioning in the manifested world

Pranamaya kosha        human etheric body or energy sheath maintained by breathing

Pranava                       the sound or written symbol of Om or AUM                 

Pranayama                  conscious control and direction of the breath

Pratyahara                  control of the senses through certain mental detachment                            

Puraka                        inhalation of the breath

Raja                            King, royal

Raja Yoga                   Royal  path perfecting mind and faculties to reflect the light of Truth

Rajas                          quality of mobility or creativity – one of the three Gunas

Rajasic                        stimulating quality, activity, movement, action

Rechaka                      exhalation of the breath

Rishi                            great seer, sage or visionary

Sadhaka                      seeker, spiritual  aspirant

Sadhana                     personal spiritual self discipline

Sahasrara chakra        ‘thousand petalled lotus’ chakra at crown of the head

Samadhi                      supreme state of bliss consciousness of the Unity of all Life

Samana                       one of the pranas functioning in the region of the navel plexus

Shambhavi Mudra        gazing upward to the point between the brows  the Ajna centre

Samskaras                   mental impressions of the past

Samyama                     perfect state for meditation – concentration and contemplation blend

Sankhya                      speculative philosophy

Sannyasin                    a renunciate – free of the material world and its attachments

Sanskrit                      also known as Devavani,  the language of the gods, archaic, perfect

Santosa                       this is the Niyama practice of the state of contentment 

Sat                               the state of pure  existence -Reality – truth      

Satsang                      group exchange of wisdom – meeting of good people

Sattva /Sattwa            the most refined of the Gunas – truth,  purity, illumination, harmony    

Satya                          the Yama discipline avoiding lying and dishonesty

Saucha                       development  of purity – one of the Niyamas

Shankaracharya          supeme ancient Guru teacher who devised a 15 fold system

Shanti                         Peace – unruffled equanimity – used as a mantra of Peace 

Shatkarmas/kriyas      Six traditional cleansing practices used in Hatha Yoga hygiene

Sitali                           cooling pranayama exercise, inhaling involving the rolled tongue

Shraddha                    faith, trust, devotion, zeal 

Surya                          the spiritual Sun, of Divine Light – with Savitir the manifested sun

Surya Namaskara       physical exercise -traditional 12 movements fo rtotal  health

Sushumna                   central channel in spinal column in which the Kundalini arises         

Sutras                         Aphorisms are strung like pearls of wisdom, in a chain for teaching

Svadhisthana              chakra in the lower body  

Swadhyaya                  religious practices and study-also insight and introspection

Swami                         a learned spiritual teacher or Brahmin

Tamas                         the Guna relating to Inertia (Matter) or ignorance of mind

Tamasic                       basic, unenlightened, heavy, material qualityof the Gunas

Tapas                          fervour in spiritual  aspiration, austerities and creative endeavour

Trataka                       unbroken gazing at one focal point

Trigunas                      the three Gunas – Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas –types of matter

Turiya                          purest stated of one’s consciousness – highest awareness

Udana                         prana flowing from throat to head

Uddiyana Bandha        solar plexus muscular Lock

Upanishads                 ancient mystical literature – the philosophical part of the Vedas 

Vairagya                      impersonal acceptance of the world as it is, free of bias

Vedanga Jyotisha       science of astronomy

Vedas                         Ancient wisdom and scriptures of India as revealed to ancient Rishis

Vedanta                      Philosophy of Oneness- the unity of all life -last part of the Vedas

Vidya                          knowledge by experience  – science – a section of the Upanishads

Vijnanomaya Kosha    higher mental body concerned with abstract thought

Visuddha chakra         higher creative centre at the throat, commanding speech and song

Viveka                        discrimination, free from illusion, ability to separate truth from untruth

Vyana                         type of prana flowing all over the body- the diffused breath

Vyasa                         the saint who complied Vedanta Sutras or Brahma Sutras

Yamas                         Practising restraints and disciplines of conscience

Yantra                        a symbol as a focus for mental concentration

Yantric Yoga               uses symbols such as mandalas,  to affect mind states

Yoga                           to yoke or bind – personality integration, soul and spirit, to God

Yoga Chikitsa             self-healing aspect of Ayurveda

Yoga Mudra                Asana symbolizing self discipline and bowing to Nature – the Supreme

Yoga Nidra                 psychic state of yogi’s sleep when absorbed in relaxation techniques

Yogi ,Yogini                male and female exponent of Yoga philosophy and practices      





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